I’m not going to do much research for the weeks NFL thread since I have to pack tonight before work and then get on a flight tomorrow AM. Also I suspect that many people will be offline and/or preoccupied with other holiday plans for at least tomorrow and perhaps the rest of the weekend. But, at least there’ll be a thread for whomever is looking for it this week.
Thursday, Nov. 26
** Green Bay Packers 10½ DETROIT LIONS 47½ **
Hopefully that recent history of the Lions giving the Packers a tough game continues making the holiday entertaining. I’ll be on a plane at kickoff and may not be to my destination in time to catch any of the game which is disappointing. Depending on how bleak one’s hopes are for the Bears this could be a important divisional game to watch. Can we get ahead of the Packers? Can we avoid the cellar and the Lions? It’s a shame Stafford will be out, he earned himself a lot of fans last week and with the injuries to the Packers defense the Lions might have actually scored some points.
The Pick: Packers 30 - Lions 20
** DALLAS COWBOYS 13½ Oakland Raiders 40 **
It’s a shame that a better team wasn’t scheduled to face the Cowboys in this game. But, with Gradkowski actually playing well last week in the upset win and the Cowboys issues on offense perhaps this will be an exciting if ugly game. Considering the Cowboys have managed all of 14 points in the last 2 weeks a spread that big seems a little silly even against the Raiders. However the Boys are at their best when they run the ball and the Raiders run defense sucks royally. Plus I have no faith in Oakland being ready and prepared on a short week on the road after a big upset win.
The Pick: Cowboys 28 - Raiders 14
** New York Giants 7 DENVER BRONCOS 42 **
I’m not sure if even this game is going to be a good one with Denver floundering and Orton expected to start hurt. The Giants have been equally shaky and their run game is utterly lost, but they should still provide enough of a pass rush to cause Orton’s bad ankle to be a factor. I like that the Broncos are at home at altitude on a short week and 7 points is quite a bit for a team that’s probably without Bradshaw but I think the Giants win.
The Pick: Giants 21 - Broncos 17
Sunday, Nov. 29
** Indianapolis 3½ HOUSTON 48 **
Secretly a big game here. The Colts have had a couple close wins of late against tough opponents and the Texans are coming off a crushing MNF loss. This game will determine if the Texans are going to rebound or fall apart completely, I don’t think there’s any middle ground. I can’t go against Manning in a dome but this is a fashionable upset pick.
The Pick: Colts 31 - Texans 16
** CINCINNATI 14 Cleveland 39 **
The Bengals need to get some pay back in this one, if they don’t dominate there will be some serious questions asked.
The Pick: Bengals 27 - Browns 0
** MINNESOTA 10½ Chicago 47 **
Seems like every talking head is predicting a complete and total implosion by the Bears in this one and a total blowout. Now, I know better than anyone how badly the Bears have played but lets not forget that they lost to the Eagles last week in a close game and had the ball with a chance to win at the end. Are the Vikings really that much different from the Eagles? I suppose there’s a pretty good chance that a repeat of the Bengals and Cards games happens here but the certainty in the media seems a little silly.
The Pick: Vikings 23 - Bears 21
** PHILADELPHIA 9 Washington 40 **
Is Portis gonna be back? Will it matter? Any chance the Eagles implode? the last game between these two was much closer than it looked in the box score but I think the Eagles will be able to stymie the Redskins offense entirely.
The Pick: Eagles 17 - Redskins 6
** Miami 3 BUFFALO 40 **
The Bills are hurting badly on the offensive line. They’ve consistently played better than I expect them to but they still have lost 3 in a row and are 3-7. They got thumped in their last meeting and that 3 point spread seems awfully generous.
The Pick: Dolphins 27 - Bills 13
** TENNESSEE NL Arizona NL **
No line on this game as we wait to hear if Warner plays. I think he does, I’ll pick accordingly. I love what the Titans are doing right now and the whole winning out thing seems like a possibility. The Titans are coming off a short week and the Cards play really well on the road suddenly. I’ll actually be in Nashville on Sunday, if it were an early game I’d be tempted to try and snag tickets. I expect a close game but the Titans fall just short if Warner is at a 100%.
The Pick: Cardinals 27 - Titans 23
** Seattle 3 ST LOUIS 42½ **
Ugly game. I think the Rams get another W this week and they’ve been starting to look fairly competitive lately.
The Pick: Rams 17 - Seahawks 13
** ATLANTA 12 Tampa Bay 46 **
Are the Falcons a good team or not? I don’t know but I think the Bucs brief resurgence is over and Freeman won’t carry them this week. The firing of Bates seems completely insane to me, the guy has an excellent track record.
The Pick: Falcons 30 - Buccaneers 15
** NY JETS 3 Carolina 41 **
The Jets should not be favored. They are inches from sucking at this point and without Jenkins the Panthers running game rolls.
The Pick: Panthers 20 - Jets 14
** SAN FRANCISCO 3 Jacksonville 41½ **
I think the Niners are going to finally piece things together. I’ve watched a lot of them over the past few weeks and they have some talent on offense and the tandem of Davis and Crabtree could be potentially scary. They have been stuck facing some really good defenses and this week that will change.
The Pick: Niners 23 - Jaguars 10
** SAN DIEGO 13½ Kansas City 45 **
The Chiefs surprised me last week and I feel less confident going against them at this point but I think the Chargers are simply rounding into being a very good team. At home after the holiday they ought to take care of business. 13 points is too many though.
The Pick: Chargers 30 - Chiefs 20
** BALTIMORE NL Pittsburgh NL **
Again, no line because of Big Ben’s melon, but again I suspect he plays and I’ll pick accordingly. This is a huge game for both teams as the Bengals left the door ajar last with last weeks loss. With a win the Ravens can draw even and which ever team loses might need to reconsider their playoff hopes. Neither team has inspired much confidence and both defenses are well below their usual standard. I’m hoping Ray Rice has a monster game for the sake of my fantasy team and I like the thought of both teams floundering at 6-5, I’m taking the home team.
The Pick: Ravens 20 - Steelers 18
Monday, Nov. 30
** NEW ORLEANS 3 New England 56 **
Monster game. Glad I’ll be back home in time to settle in and enjoy this one. The fashionable pick seems to be the Pats and everyone has been picking the upsets against the Saints for the last few weeks. I think at home on Monday night this crowd is insane and they carry the Saints. The Pats run defense has been a little shaky and I think the Saints tandem puts together a huge game.
The Pick: Saints 37 - Patriots 27